Summary and book reviews of Present Value by Sabin Willett

Present Value

by Sabin Willett

Present Value
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  • First Published:
    Sep 2003, 416 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2004, 416 pages

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Book Summary

A provocative, wonderfully entertaining ride—an irreverent, clear-eyed view of the way we live now.

Fritz Brubaker and his wife, Linda - an attractive couple in their mid-forties - have it all. He’s a toy-company executive and she’s a million-dollar-a-year lawyer. Their children are in private school; they have a McMansion in a Boston suburb and a cottage on Nantucket. But their comfortable world is suddenly turned upside down when Fritz’s company’s stock tanks and he is arrested for insider trading. Linda’s image-conscious firm suspends her. Their houses get repossessed. The kids go haywire. Watching the Brubaker family’s lives unravel is the best way to see the stuff from which they’re really made.

This clever, very funny novel is a post-millennial snapshot of America that shows what happens to an economy built on greed when its chickens come home to roost. It’s the story of a family gone wrong, and its attempt to reset its course.

The author of two successful thrillers, Sabin Willett delivers in this ambitious new novel the kind of witty social commentary we associate with Tom Wolfe, Jonathan Franzen, and Zadie Smith. But he writes in his own original voice, breaking new ground as he describes a changed world. Present Value is a provocative, wonderfully entertaining ride—an irreverent, clear-eyed view of the way we live now.

CHAPTER 1
A DELIVERY OF PRECIOUS CARGO

HEAT! The heat was steamy and suffocating, a humid pall that anticipated the dawn and left everyone a little sluggish, a little vulnerable. It was so hot that the day itself seemed dazed, as though it had got lost from July somehow, made a wrong turn off the calendar, then wandered fitfully in the ether until it stumbled into September. In the suburbs west of Boston that Monday morning, it was not autumn at all; there was no hint or whisper of New England charm to come, nothing of the crisp anticipation of a new school year. It was just a sizzler—a white-sky mugging. And in the car-pool lane at the Chaney School, it was Cairo at noontime.

"Car-pool lane" was one of the school’s many charming euphemisms, for there wasn’t much pooling evident. The fewer the kids, the bigger the vehicle. The SUVs idled in rank, pumping out pizza-oven blasts of superheated exhaust, inching forward toward the alcove, where each would discharge ...

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Reviews

Media Reviews

Booklist - Carol Haggas

A contemporary satire of the highest order, it delivers its message with both uproarious humor and uplifting pathos.

Publishers Weekly

... a clever sendup of striving citizens, and in the end, a morality tale, as the man who thinks he's lost everything discovers that perhaps he's won.

Library Journal - Sheila Riley

Highly amusing and irreverent, though at times a tad overwritten, this is a swift, good read and highly recommended for all fiction collections.

Kirkus Reviews

Remarkable hilariously nasty, morally driven, sweetly romantic. Poor Linda Fritz is irresistible.

Author Blurb Mario Cuomo
Present Value is a really good story…and much more. It’s a trove of useful information about the law, the economy, and Wall Street, with intriguing insights into some of the flimsy threads of today’s culture and the sturdier values that can redeem it. Willett’s intelligence, sense of humor and craftsmanship are even more impressive.

Author Blurb Ken Auletta
Out of nowhere, this novel grabbed me by the throat and wouldn't let go until I finished. It takes you into boardrooms and bedrooms, it explores the post-9/11 psyche, the culture of business, pokes below the surface of a perfect marriage, and provides a comic description of the noisome Blackberry culture that leaves us staring at the tops of people's heads. Sabin Willett has the eye of a fine satirist, and the fluid writing style of a Tom Wolfe.

Author Blurb Kurt Andersen, author of Turn of the Century
If you love to hate lawyers, psychotherapists, political correctness, suburban oppressiveness, Blackberrys, CEOs, and/or CFOs; if you have a taste for tales of corporate intrigue told from the inside out; or if you enjoy dead-on 21st century comedies of manners, then Present Value is your book.

Reader Reviews

Sactown Ernie

Excellent
Given the fact that a college education is increasingly geared toward job preparation and placement, "Present Value" should be required reading for all students in Business and Law School. Willett skillfully weaves a tale of moral ...   Read More

Lee

I loved this book (Present Value, Sabin Willett). It came out of the blue, and I ended up staying up late two nights in a row and getting to work late two days in a row as I just had to read more in the morning. I've not bumped into this author ...   Read More

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